More than 700 art enthusiasts travel to The Starline Gallery in Harvard once a month to take in the exhibits and events hosted during the gallery’s “4th Fridays.”
Fourth Fridays, which open at 6 p.m. the fourth Friday of the month, nine months out of the year, support regional artists by providing a juried mixed art exhibit, juried photo contest, featured artist solo exhibit and more. A $5 entry fee covers admission, bottled water and light appetizers; a cash bar also is available.
Angela Swan of Lakewood is an artist who has been featured during 4th Fridays and a volunteer who helps the event take shape each month.
“I think one of the coolest things about it is we’re showcasing regional artists in an event that we try really hard to make fun,” Swan says. “So, it’s a happening. It’s something to do in McHenry County on a regular basis, but it’s reworked every month. So, it’s not the same live music, it’s not the same artwork and it’s not the same space. It’s fresh.”
As an artist, Swan says she has felt very supported through 4th Fridays.
“Part of our mission is to educate the public on what original art is; how to live with original art and buy it,” she says. “Mostly, people, they see something and it resonates inside them and they want to live with it … . We are, through this event, trying to help people value living with art because it validates me … as an artist. If people buy what I make, then I can make more things … . Who I am is honored.
“I think that this whole 4th Fridays is just a way to dignify artists and give them a forum and really make it fun.”
And the audience attending 4th Fridays has fun, too, she says.
“What we [hear] back is that people appreciate the energy,” Swan says. “They walk in and feel it could be downtown, but it’s not — it’s in their backyard.”
Below are photos from the 4th Fridays event that took place in May. The next 4th Fridays is scheduled for Friday, July 26. For more information, visit www.nancymerkling.com/4th-fridays-at-the-starline.